Khaki Files: A compendium of real crime stories

Neeraj Kumar, the bestselling author of Dial D for Don: Inside Stories of CBI Missions, has come up with his second book 'Khaki Files'. In the book, Kumar revisits many high-profile cases of his career as an IPS officer – from the investigation of one of the biggest lottery frauds in the country to a foiled ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) attempt to kill two of the founding members of Tehelka – bringing to light numerous achievements of the country's police forces, which are otherwise largely reviled and ridiculed.

In an exclusive interaction with Millennium Post, the Ex-Director General of Tihar prisons not only talks about his latest book, but also throws light on police offers' life and how they are subjected to bashing. Excerpts...

There is fine line between 'acknowledgement' and 'glorification'. How difficult was it to write a book that could highlight the achievements of police without sounding pompous?

I attempted not crossing the line by sticking to the facts and facts alone. Readers, or for that matter even the public know that when confronted with important investigations, the Police, by and large, and, oftener than not, do a fine and professional job. My effort is always to highlight that good work.

You feel that "We (Public) are adept at police bashing…". Tell me about incidents from your professional life that made you believe so?

The best example of police bashing is the Nirbhaya case itself. The media, public, opposition parties, and, to a great extent, local elected government were indulged in vituperative police bashing as if the police were responsible for the horrific rape. It was surely a shameful incident but the police could not have prevented it, as was also the conclusion of the judicial committee headed by Justice Usha Mehra.

The book also talks about the humane side of a police officer (In the Manjeet Singh's case). Did that (your human side) ever affect/change your professional approach towards a case?

I believe that the humane side in me is always there with me. I have approached crime and criminals in a humane way and it has paid me rewarding dividends.

Artistic freedom allows makers of movies/web series to tweak data and facts according to their will. Does that bother you since your book is being made into a web series?

No, it doesn't bother me beacuse to make a story more watchable, dramatic liberties are often necessary. But, surely, if those liberties cross a certain line, making things to look unbelievable or absurd, I would have serious reservations.

Which chapter of the book is your favourite. Could you tell us about the experience of solving that case?

'Moon-gazer' is my favorite story. The case was tough and challenging where we were pitted against a gang of serial killers who were wreaking havoc in the city. Media and public pressure was tremendous and we were working against time. The gang was busted using innovative techniques and painstaking field policing. The fact that the national capital has not witnessed any repeat of those ghastly crimes by such gangs has been a matter of great professional satisfaction.

Did spending 3 decades of your life in a negative environment take a toll on your mental health?

It is erroneous to believe that there is only negativity in police work. As a matter of fact, great positivity follows as a consequence of our so-called 'negative work'. For instance, going after criminals and prosecuting them may appear negative prima-facie but the fact that criminal incidents get prevented because of their arrest is a positive result. To be able to help people in deep distress surpasses many positive work done by other government departments.

Presented by Penguin Random House and S Hussain Zaidi, the book will be officially launched on October 30, at Constitution Club of India, New Delhi.

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